Nick Aiezza

Such a Smart Species

Nothing is sexier than a pitch pine

out to plant its seed under a forest fire

narrow trail through narrow openings of limbs

smoke fades when the act is done

another whack at life another open track

toward sunlight when hell-curtains fall

finally to dirt a last-ditch effort to last

outlast and move up the western side

settled for a view and the next narrow fire

wait and repeat the number of times I'd kiss a girl

under a tuliptree agreed the tallest of eastern

hardwoods and such a smart species of a tree

that only Latin can un-sexy its flowers

Liriodendron tulipifera and somewhere a botanist

sneezes in his hand where dust

fires shovel some little known fact

about the word thrive and the sun

torching itself to give light.


You Will True 

I walk through blistered grass where weeds rise

into full dandelion beds around my old chair

broken to tilt over the southwest leg. Every day

I sleep here, breakfast dried beneath bourbon

and bloating unsteady dreams

toward better green miles than these fields

had broken the spite into you, the ordinary girl,

who skins her knee time after time in streams rushed to full

fury when she removes the spine from trout bone red.

Don’t watch a dead fish dry. But you will true.

You fall harder down roads dirt ditches overtook.

Shins endless scabs. Skirt as muddy as your mouth.

Dirt in your teeth and vocabulary rediscovers words

like Luck when ragweed falls to steady rain,

spills its toxins over dirt numbed for your preservation.

Luckily you hate flowers and such, the boozy apology they whittle.

When winter sinks in the creek and freezes a mallard still

in life—cracks its beak, too bent to beat early snow—

you’d say nothing. Ice melts and words split open for you.

Warmth you know spoils from booze and empty vases.

As creeks rise, nature falls into your house,

trout thrown in curls on your pillowcase, you'll see

when burgundy water settles honest to its word

how dandelions look up to you and fall.


NICK AIEZZA lives in the finger lakes region of New York state. He is a student in Manhattanville College's MFA program in creative writing. His work has appeared in The Paris-American, H_NGM_N, and the Fredericksburg Literary Review.